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December 15, 2009 10:54 PM   Subscribe

Five short "Personal Service Announcements" from Laurie Anderson • The National DebtTV LunchWomen and MoneyJerry-RiggingThe National Anthem • They were aired in 1990 on VH1 as bumpers between videos. [ Thanks hippybear! ]
posted by not_on_display (27 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Pure awesomesauce was her work...
posted by Windopaene at 11:09 PM on December 15, 2009

It's jury rigging, not Jerry rigging, angrily repeats my dad, the engineer who's name is Jerry.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:15 PM on December 15, 2009

Ah, I initially read Loni Anderson....this is better.
posted by Partario at 12:00 AM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Obviously the answer to the national ... debt is to increase everyone in NYC's income to >$32 million by the year 2020.

A-and it's fun to see LA say "hair ... raising."
posted by chavenet at 2:42 AM on December 16, 2009

Is there context to these videos? Maybe I am just too young to understand them, but the first seems like a drastic misapprehension of the National Debt, the second a complaint about TV (on TV), the third seemed to stop about 15 seconds before the point, the fourth was non-sense, and the fifth seemed like actual comedy of some sort.

Very strange and disparate messages, and it had me wondering if she was a conservative in liberals' clothing, or what.
posted by explosion at 4:09 AM on December 16, 2009

Yeah, I couldn't tell if she was doing public service announcements, or just practicing for one of those performances of hers.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:48 AM on December 16, 2009 [6 favorites]

I love Laurie Anderson so much. Bless you, sir.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:06 AM on December 16, 2009

Okay, so now I have two competing mental images going on whenever I hear the National Anthem.

One is Laurie Anderson's "a lot of questions written during a fire" riff.

The other is the scene from Shortbus.

I may never be able to attend a sporting event again.
posted by MrVisible at 6:09 AM on December 16, 2009

posted by cortex at 7:07 AM on December 16, 2009

more recent Laurie Anderson,

"Only An Expert"

and, my fave,

Langue D'Amour
posted by The Whelk at 7:08 AM on December 16, 2009

Nice find, thanks for posting! I miss Laurie Anderson. Not just that her recent work doesn't do it for me, but also the space she inhabited, the sort of weird but gentle storytelling, the multimedia art. It's just looking a little out of context now. As evidenced by explosion's confusion, I think. I love these because they remind me of 15 years ago when I was really in to Laurie Anderson. But maybe now, for the kids these days with their hippity-hop, it doesn't make sense.

FWIW, if these don't make sense, most of Laurie Anderson's work is sort of quirky non-sequitur. She's a unique mix of New York performance art scene, music, and multimedia technology. Wrapped up in good old fashion storytelling. Sort of an accessible avant garde.
posted by Nelson at 7:13 AM on December 16, 2009 [4 favorites]

In a similar vein, from a similiar time period here's David Byrne interviewing himself included as an extra on various Stop Making Sense dvd releases. This clip reminds me of one featuring Laurie Anderson that I vaguely remember, but can't seem to find via the google.

Also, fwiw, I always though of Jenny Holzer as Laurie Anderson without music.
posted by askmehow at 7:25 AM on December 16, 2009

BrotherCaine -
In my neck of the woods, it's always been "jerry-rigging".

"jury rigging" is what mobsters do.
posted by madajb at 7:58 AM on December 16, 2009

I guess it's just not my thing, which is a shame (for me) but while there are a lot of interesting ideas in here, her clipped at. odd. intervals cadence and that "hey, I didn't see ya there!" performance artist conceit just grate on my nerves too much for me to watch any more.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:10 AM on December 16, 2009

The Personal Service Announcements were on the original CD that Apple gave away with Quicktime. Glad to see them again.

Last year i finally got hold of United States Parts I-IV on MP3 (I have the vinyl... somewhere... I guess), and very cheap too (£9.99 on, but $33 on Ha!). Several hours of non-sequiteurs and elliptical rhythms. Pure heaven. Includes Mach 20, the original version of Language Is a Virus from Outer Space and O Superman.

Here she is in conversation at the ICA in 1990.
posted by Grangousier at 8:13 AM on December 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Sit bolt upright in that straight back chair and get set for some difficult music.
posted by effluvia at 9:10 AM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Jeez, I go to sleep for a few hours, and this is what happens? (Yer welcome, n_o_d)

I think one of the more remarkable documents from Laurie in the last decade is her "Live In New York, September 19-20, 2001" album. She'd had the shows scheduled, and she was out of the city eight days earlier, when there was that mishap with those buildings and those planes. She genuinely was not sure whether she should even proceed with the concerts, but she certainly didn't feel she could just do a normal show, as her tours are usually highly programmed and inflexible. So she did something she's never done before or since -- she worked up a full setlist of her most popular tunes (arranged for the peculiar version of a band she was working with) and headed out on stage. The end result was recorded onto these albums, which I heartily recommend to any Laurie fans, and even to non-fans as a means of introduction to this most unique of NYC artists.

Her brief splash into the greater public consciousness faded over a decade ago, but she continues to create stellar works and tour regularly, and she also is known to perform regularly with her companion of many years (and now husband) Lou Reed. Yes, THAT Lou Reed.
posted by hippybear at 9:20 AM on December 16, 2009 [3 favorites]

Hmm. Those were ... interesting. If anyone gives a shit, however, the meaning in "Yankee Doodle" is not in any way hard to understand, which is not always the case of the New York art scene. The Brits back then considered the American colonists ignorant rubes (so much has changed) and the rest is explained in this article on Macaroni.
posted by mojohand at 10:30 AM on December 16, 2009

Congratulations, mojohand... you can now understand anything happening in the NY art scene today!
posted by hippybear at 10:53 AM on December 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think one of the more remarkable documents from Laurie in the last decade is her "Live In New York, September 19-20, 2001" album.

Seconded. To hammer it home a bit:
And I said: OK. Who is this really? And the voice said:
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
Here come the planes.
They're American planes. Made in America.
Smoking or non-smoking?
And the voice said: Neither snow nor rain nor gloom
of night shall stay these couriers from the swift
completion of their appointed rounds.
Very powerful recording, but also seems very intimate to me. Then, I've always found O Superman to be very moving, so.
posted by Grangousier at 1:02 PM on December 16, 2009

I've always found O Superman to be very moving

posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:39 PM on December 16, 2009

Yes, O Superman was how I learned the entire Postal Carriers motto!

I can't remember the name of the piece where she talks about income disparity. Something about "I figure it'll be 2058 before women ... can make ... a buck."

She can really make a point.

And remember, during the Reagan years, she was considered a wild-eyed radical feminist liberal!
posted by Jinx of the 2nd Law at 6:42 PM on December 16, 2009

Fuck yeah, O Superman.
posted by cortex at 8:22 PM on December 16, 2009

Jinx, you're thinking of Beautiful Red Dress off of Strange Angels.
posted by cortex at 8:26 PM on December 16, 2009

Ah, I initially read Loni Anderson....this is better.

I read it as Louie Anderson...this is better.
posted by Wild_Eep at 4:54 AM on December 17, 2009



Please stop using the past tense to refer to her performances. She is still a brilliant, active artist.

That is all.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:21 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

She is still performing which is wonderful and still, there was something extra-wonderful about listening to her when Reagan was president, the Preppy Handbook was a bestseller, and I was a weird/queer/tomboy/freak/intellectual nine year old.

Thanks for the post - I'd never seen these before and they're awesome.
posted by serazin at 11:16 PM on January 10, 2010

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